Cell-based therapies are being developed for myocardial infarction (MI) and its consequences (e.g., heart failure) as well as refractory angina and critical limb ischemia. The promising results obtained in preclinical studies led to the translation of this strategy to clinical studies. To date, the initial results have been mixed: some studies showed benefit, whereas in others, no benefit was observed. There is a growing consensus among the scientific community that a better understanding of the fate of transplanted cells (e.g., cell homing and viability over time) will be critical for the long-term success of these strategies and that future studies should include an assessment of cell homing, engraftment, and fate as an integral part of the trial design. In this review, different imaging methods and technologies are discussed within the framework of the physiological answers that the imaging strategies can provide, with a special focus on the inherent regulatory issues.
Copyright © 2012 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.